What is Brainspotting?
The next time you are discussing a highly emotional topic, positive or negative, notice where your eyes go. You will notice they will typically land on the same few spots over and over again.
Brainspotting is a powerful, but gentle, psychotherapeutic tool developed by David Grand to address the following, and more:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
- Chronic Pain
- Sports Performance
According to David Grand, developer of Brainspotting, “Where you look affects how you feel.” This is the basic premise of Brainspotting.
Brainspotting accesses different parts of the brain than traditional talk therapy. Talk therapy accesses the higher parts of the brain, the cerebral cortex. However, trauma is stored in the deeper layers of the brain, in the amygdala. Unfortunately, accessing the deeper layers of the brain is not possible with talk therapy. Brainspotting heals the deeper layers of the brain and reduces the “emotional charge” of a traumatic memory. Talk therapy alone does not do that. I witness clients transform more quickly with the use of Brainspotting.
Brainspotting is very much client-directed and led. The theory behind brainspotting is that the client has within them the ability and desire to heal and we must follow their lead. Brainspotting also has a strong mindfulness component (as you stay aware of what is happening in moment). I believe that the ability to be with the emotion is one reason this intervention so effective.
What does a Brainspotting session look like?
Brainspotting can be done a few different ways. It can be a completely silent process, where I will check in with my client to support and guide them. Clients can also chose to verbally process their Brainspotting experience. My client will typically listen to Bilateral Sounds.
Bilateral sound enhances the brain’s processing abilities by alternately stimulating each cerebral hemisphere. The healing sound directly enters the brain through the auditory nerves while the eardrums are vibrated bilaterally.
We then find where the person is feeling the emotion in their body and scale the intensity. For example, “I feel anxious in my chest.” I then use a pointer to find where the sensation in the body is the most intense. Usually, my client will keep their eyes on that spot and we see what comes up. Or, if that is too intense, we find a gentler spot to focus on. There are always ways to vary this process to meet each individual need.